Friday, November 28, 2014

News: Cumulus secures further funding

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Cumulus Energy Storage (CES), a high-tech start-up based on the Advanced Manufacturing Park (AMP) in Rotherham, is being backed by Government funding to help bring its low cost energy storage battery to the market.

Previously known as Wind Power Performance Ltd, and based in the AMP Technology Centre, Cumulus is developing prototype battery technology which can be developed commercially to cope with the rigours and requirements of the renewable industry.

Storing the electricity from intermittent energy sources such as wind and solar at source, or "grid level," is a key problem due to the mismatch between the availability of intermittent wind or sunshine and the changing demand for grid electricity.

Cumulus is developing a grid-level energy storage battery with 1MWh-100MWh storage capacity which it hopes to be the lowest cost battery technology in the world. By using its new batteries, developers of offshore wind farms or solar farms could reduce the price at which electricity must be generated from the source to break even over the lifetime of the project.

The Bi-Metal battery is based on existing industrial chemistry and architecture already used at a larger scale in mineral processing. The technology allows this to be used as a re-chargeable grid-storage battery, using inexpensive, recyclable materials.

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Cumulus is one of 19 projects to secure funding from the latest round of the Government's Energy Entrepreneurs' Fund (EEF) that was established in 2012 to help bring a range of new and innovative low carbon products to market. The scheme particularly aims to assist small and medium sized enterprises, including start-ups, and those companies that are selected can receive additional funding for incubation support.

Energy and Climate Change Minister Amber Rudd said: "As the nation that is leading the way in tackling climate change, it is important that we support small and medium sized businesses get their innovative energy projects off the ground."

Cumulus recently secured £250k from seed investors as far ranging as Switzerland, Guernsey, London and Yorkshire. It will help to meet the aim of bringing the battery to market in 2015 after the demonstration models have been commercialised. Already there is considerable interest in the USA as well as in the Netherlands particularly with solar and tidal companies.

The firm is headed up by CEO Nick Kitchen, COO Darron Brackenbury, two professional engineers with MBAs, and Mike Horwitz, the principal inventor. With research in San Francisco and manufacturing in South Yorkshire, the enterprise was recently recognised for Outstanding Achievement through Passport to Export at the second annual Passport To Export Awards, organised by UK Trade & Investment (UKTI) Yorkshire and the Humber.

Cumulus website

Images: Harworth Estates

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